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June Boating Safety Courses Set for Panhandle

The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission is offering its mandatory boating safety course at several locations in the Panhandle in June.

Nebraska law requires any motorboat operator, including drivers of personal watercraft such as Jet Skis, born after Dec. 31, 1985, to complete one of the two types of boating safety courses and be in possession of a course certificate. Operators must be 14 years old to drive motorboats and personal watercraft in Nebraska.

Home-study format, in which participants download and study materials online before attending a three-hour review and test-out session will be offered in Sidney on June 9, Bridgeport and Chadron on June 13, and Scottsbluff on June 18. The six-hour classroom course will be offered in Scottsbluff on June 7 and 9 in two sessions, and in Alliance on June 18 and again on June 25.

Scott Eveland, boating safety officer for the Commission, said the course covers a wide range of topics including equipment requirements, safe boat operation and accident prevention – valuable information for both new and experienced boaters. Boat owners who complete the class may qualify for insurance discounts. Parents are encouraged to attend with their children and boaters of all ages are welcome.  

Students must be at least 14, or turning 14 this calendar year to be certified. There is a $10 fee for most courses.  Preregistration is required and the courses must have a certain number of students to avoid cancellation.

Participants may register for the Alliance classes by calling Nancy at 308-763-2940.  For all other courses contact Eveland at scott.eveland@nebraska.gov or 308-289-0017.

Courses are available at other locations across the region. For the most updated listing and for classes at other locations in Nebraska, visit the Boating Education calendar at www.BoatSafeNebraska.org. The site also has other information about boating safety.

About Justin Haag

Justin Haag has served the Commission as a public information officer in the Panhandle since 2013. His duties include serving as regional editor for NEBRASKAland Magazine. Haag was raised in southwestern Nebraska, where he developed a love for fishing, hunting and other outdoor pursuits. After earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Chadron State College in 1996, he worked four years as an editor and reporter at newspapers in Chadron and McCook. Prior to joining the Commission in 2013, he worked 12 years as a communicator at Chadron State, serving as the institution’s media and public relations coordinator the last five. He and his wife, Cricket, live in Chadron, and have two children.

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